Cluster computers

Learn about the organization of HPC cluster computers.

What is a cluster computer?

A Cluster computer (or HPC Cluster) is a loosely coupled parallel computer set where the computing nodes have individual memory and instances of the operating system, but typically share a file system, and use an explicitly programmed high-speed network for communication. The term loosely refers to the technicalities of how such machines are constructed."

“clusters” and “high-performance computing” are synonymous.

All the ideas that went into the design of supercomputers are now part of your everyday personal computer. A supercomputer is just a cluster with a large number of ordinary processors. Every “super” computer these days is a cluster.

HPC cluster

A HPC cluster is two or more (often many more 50~1000) computers working as a single logical system to provide services. Though from the outside the cluster may look like a single system, the internal workings to make this happen can be quite complex.


The figure (credit: gfycat) above presents a data center visual represetation of a HPC cluster.

Scientific Computing Essentials